The word being



Could you please tell me why the word "being" is used in the following sentence?

Do you see English teaching as being principally an education in values?

Does the meaning of the sentence change if the word 'being' is taken out?

Thank you very much for your help.


June Chiang
Posted 04 November 2002
The sentence seems okay to me; however, I think the word "being" is optional and doesn´t change the meaning; it only makes the sentence sound a bit more formal.


None of the grammatical sources I have consulted makes any distinction between the two constructions, with and without being. A Google search for "see (something) as (NOUN)" and for "see (something) as being + (NOUN)" turns up an abundance of each construction. The gerund being does not add any meaning to the construction (except for one example below), but it is nevertheless widely used.

Examples of the being version include


I don't see him as being particularly outgoing.


People still see [Robin Williams] as being nothing more than a comedic actor.


And to a human it would be a chair, because the human would see it as being an object built for sitting on.


When students are sent home, they often see it as being a holiday, or break, from school.

Examples of the omission of being include


Thirteen percent see it as a very serious problem.


I see it as a positive sign.


See it as an untapped market.

In one case, the version with being cannot be paraphrased with the omission of being:


... While some might see this as being self-absorbed or even selfish, you see it as being honest.

This apparent anomaly can be explained by the fact that this occurrence of being is different from the others. Here the participle being means "behaving (in a certain way)," as in


He's being truthful for a change.



I never know whether you're being serious or not.

Otherwise, removing being makes no difference to the meaning of the sentence.

Marilyn Martin

Return to the Key Word Index